`Brooklyn's Finest' is a curious hybrid of the old-fashioned and the modern. At times it feels as if it could've been made by Sidney Lumet, (and probably, I'm sorry to say, made better), back in the `70's or `80's; but at the same time it's obvious the makers have seen `The Wire' and realised that it changed the landscape of the urban police/criminal thriller for ever.
The plot concerns three, seemingly unconnected, policemen, whose lives all reach some kind of climax in the same place on the same night. This doesn't, I'm afraid, come as much of a surprise; it's obvious for virtually the whole film that things are going to end badly and, for the most part, they do
Richard Gere plays the disillusioned beat-cop marking time till his retirement, who gets one last chance at redemption; Ethan Hawke the plain-clothes drug-squad man, suffering financial problems, who sees a desperate way out of his situation; and Don Cheadle who's undercover and finds he's too close to the drug-lord he must bring down. Do these characters sound a teeny-weeny bit familiar?
The supporting performances, particularly from a terrifically nasty Ellen Barkin, are very good, but the leads are, in my opinion, not so impressive. Gere does his best, but there's just something too West Coast about him to truly convince as a Noo Yawk cop; Hawke, for all the stubble and tattoos, reminds me of Michael J Fox in `The Hard Way', an actor pretending to be a cop; and even the normally reliable Cheadle seems flat and disinterested.
It's not a bad film, the action sequences are well-handled and there's plenty of tension, it just feels a little too obvious and a bit dour. In fact the biggest laugh I got from the film was in the closing titles when we're told one of the numerous producers was a certain Basil Iwanyk - I know I should be too old to find that sort of thing amusing, but I'm sorry to say I did.